- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2015

“Black Lives Matter” protesters crashed a Martin Luther King Jr. march in St. Louis on Monday, “reclaiming” what they say is King’s more radical past.

Despite pleas from march organizers to respect the MLK event, demonstrators blocked Rue de la Place by the Old Courthouse, where the march was to begin Monday morning, protesting what they called a watered-down legacy of King, The Washington Post reported.

The official march was supposed to end at Harris-Stowe State University, but protesters rushed the stage at the university’s auditorium, causing the prayer event to temporarily shut down, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter tweeted.

“Well, what can I say,” march organizer Rev. Cleo Willis Sr. told The Post. “Our parade was hijacked.”

The protesters eventually broke off from the MLK event and ended their march at a homeless shelter that they accused the mayor of planning to close in the name of gentrification, The Post reported.

Typically, about 25 police officers are on hand to help with crowd control for the annual MLK event, but this time there were about 75 to 100 due to heightened racial tensions following the riots in neighboring Ferguson, The Post reported.

#ReclaimMLK marches took place across the country Monday, including in Philadelphia, Boston, Oakland, Los Angeles, New York City and Milwaukee.

According to the event page for Reclaim MLK Day in Chicago, King’s memory “has been largely sanitized in popular American culture, with some of his most revolutionary thoughts and words all but wiped from the pages of popular history.

“At this historic moment, when a movement for black lives is raging in our streets, we believe it is time to reclaim MLK’s legacy, and remind the world that his vision was larger than what they’ve been told to imagine, and that it remains unfulfilled,” the event page says.

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